Following an invasive drug search in which a San Antonio police officer pulled out a woman’s tampon in front of several other officers, the city is now rewarding her a proposed settlement of $205,000.
The Washington Post reports that in the summer of 2016 Natalie D. Simms was sitting on a curb in San Antonio, waiting for her boyfriend, when cops who had been investigating the area for drug activity approached her. A detective named Mara Wilson began searching Simms’s clothes, but moved to inspect her vagina after not finding anything, in front of five other police officers, all male. Despite Simms telling Wilson she was on her period, Simms pulled on Wilson’s tampon string and removed it. “It’s full of blood, right?” Simms reportedly said. “Why would you do that?” “I don’t know, it looked like it had stuff in there,” Wilson responded, also commenting that Simms was “very hairy.”
Simms filed a lawsuit last year against San Antonio and Wilson, asking for unspecified damages. But on Thursday the city will vote on a proposed settlement of $205,000, a number Simms has agreed to. But Wilson was never disciplined for the search, instead getting a notation on her file before retiring nine months later, and it’s unclear what the San Antonio police department plans to do, if they plan to do anything at all, to make sure this never happens again.
Increasingly women are referring to these searches as sexual assault. Earlier this year a woman in Phoenix sued the city for $12.5 million after undergoing an invasive strip from an officer who did not have a warrant, claiming the search was sexual assault. And in 2017 Texas cops searched a woman’s vagina, inserting fingers into it, for 11 minutes and found nothing; her lawyer called it “rape by cop.” That woman, Charnesia Corley, also received a settlement in the form of $200,000.